Council of Canadians chapters have been active in communities across Canada protecting public health care, working to stop the Energy East pipeline and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals, standing up for democracy, and calling for a national inquiry on murdered and missing Indigenous women. Here are a few highlights.
Protesting health cuts
The London and Windsor-Essex chapters have been working to stop the proposed closure of the obstetrics unit at the Leamington District Memorial Hospital. If the provincial government closes this service, pregnant women would need to travel 50 kilometres to deliver their babies at a hospital in Windsor. The Windsor-Essex chapter participated in a strategy meeting to stop this, while the London chapter recently took part in a protest outside the constituency office of Ontario Deputy Premier Health Minister Deb Matthews.
Pipeline “Our Risk – Their Reward”
Numerous chapters have been organizing against the Energy East pipeline. The Calgary chapter joined with allies outside the National Energy Board (NEB) office to demand that it consider climate change when making its recommendation to the federal government about the pipeline. The Winnipeg chapter spoke at a press conference to say the NEB process would be “illegitimate” if it didn’t include climate change in its review. The Saint John chapter helped local residents fill out the application form to speak at the NEB hearings on the pipeline. The Montreal chapter joined with thousands of students to march against the Energy East pipeline. And the Thunder Bay chapter spoke against the pipeline at Ontario Energy Board hearings and issued a municipal election report card outlining where the various candidates stood on the project.
Chapters in British Columbia have also been very active countering the provincial government’s agenda to promote LNG terminals and pipelines in their province. These projects would be highly water-consumptive and emit huge amounts of carbon dioxide. Public forums were organized by chapters in Ladner, Powell River, Courtenay, Victoria, Nanaimo and Campbell River.
A musical twist on Harper
Chapters have also been highlighting the Harper government’s record as we move closer to the next federal election, expected on October 19. The Prince Albert, Red Deer and Northwest Territories chapters all hosted performances of the play “Stephen Harper: The Musical” in their communities. The one-person play is reminding audiences in a very entertaining way about the many negative actions taken by the Harper government since it first came to power in 2006.
We need an inquiry
Numerous chapters have been calling on the Harper government to hold an inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women. The Peterborough-Kawarthas chapter partnered with Indigenous allies to write a joint letter to the editor in their local newspaper, while the Hamilton, Moose Jaw, Brant and St. John’s chapters also submitted letters to the editor. The Regina chapter helped get a municipal resolution passed that had their city council call on the Harper government to hold an inquiry. And the North Shore chapter highlighted the links between violence against Indigenous women in Canada and the oppression experienced by women in Guatemala often related to Canadian mining companies.
Interested in getting involved? Join a chapter near you!
Photo: Chapter activists Tara Seucharan, Amit Praharaj and Lynne Alton took part in the Act on Climate march in Quebec City in April to call on premiers to take action to address climate change. Chapter members from Montreal, Fredericton, Moncton, York University, Toronto, Ottawa, Northumberland and Mid-Island (Nanaimo) participated. The march drew close to 25,000 people.
Published in Canadian Perspectives, Spring 2015